Yenagoa—The Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has alongside leaders of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) and other stakeholders calmed frayed nerves arising from the pipeline surveillance contract awarded by the Federal Government to High Chief Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo.
Diri said leaders of the Ijaw nation and other ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta have resolved to work together to protect federal government facilities in the region.
The governor stated this at the end of a meeting of critical Ijaw stakeholders led by the INC President, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, in Government House, Yenagoa.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, Diri noted that the meeting examined the various issues that threatened the unity of the Ijaw nation, following the award of the pipeline surveillance contract to Tompolo’s firm.
He explained that the meeting was held to foster peace and unity within Ijaw land, adding that all parties agreed to sheathe their swords.
Tompolo, King Ateke Tom and Chief Dokubo Asari had representatives at the meeting.
His words: “I am happy that the issue has been put behind us. Beyond building consensus, all hands must be on deck to protect the oil pipelines.
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“Today, we have seen the end of the matter. Before now, there was a deafening silence in the INC. But today, that voice is resonating and I thank all Ijaw leaders that took it upon themselves to ensure that Ijaws do not fight themselves.
“Tompolo and Asari are brothers. We have all come to a consensus to protect all federal presence, especially oil pipelines in the Niger Delta, as we sue for peace to attract development.”
He also commended Okaba and others for demonstrating leadership.
At the end of the meeting, the INC issued a communique titled: “We are stronger together” and was read by Okaba.
According to the communique, a five-man reconciliatory committee was constituted to interface with the various groups and individuals on the pipeline surveillance issue.
It further noted that Ijaw people were irrevocably committed to the peace, unity and stability of the ethnic group and other nationalities in the Niger Delta.
The communique stressed the people’s determination not to allow the pittance in the guise of oil pipeline surveillance to create an arena of in-fighting and bloodshed in Ijaw land before, during and after the execution of the job.
The meeting also agreed that Ijaw nation would collectively stand against oppressive issues and obnoxious legislation to safeguard the future of the people.
Such issues include the re-introduction of the National Water Resources Bill, the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, the non-constitution of a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the politicisation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Limited with a lopsided board.
It called on the federal government to fast-track the realisation of the proposal for the establishment of modular refineries to put an end to illegal refineries and pollution of the environment.
It also agreed to maintain the people’s position on the restructuring of Nigeria “to free it from the shackles of a faulty and fraudulently contrived foundation that perpetuates injustice, disunity and hegemonic tendencies.”
The peace meeting, which was presided over by Governor Diri, had in attendance the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the Commissioner for Ijaw National Affairs, Patrick Erasmus, INC President, Prof Okaba, Acting Chief of Staff, Government House, Dr. Peter Akpe, former INC President, Chief Joshua Fumudoh, former Minister of Police Affairs, Alaowei Broderick Bozimo.
Other stakeholders in attendance were Senator Emmanuel Diffa, Emeritus Professor Alabo Dagogo Fubara, Chief Kennedy Odiowei as well as representatives of Farah Dagogo and ‘General’ Horsfall Olali among others.
Four suspected internet fraudsters die of alleged drug overdose in Bayelsa
Yenagoa—Four suspected internet fraudsters popularly known as Yahoo Yahoo boys were on Friday confirmed dead after purportedly overdosing on illicit drugs in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, NaijaLiveTV reports.
The incident took place in an apartment along Nasco Egei road in Biogbolo community, Yenagoa happened at about 12am on Friday.
It was gathered that they lost their lives after they took the illicit drugs in celebration of a mysterious financial breakthrough by one of them.
The deceased boys are identified as Favour Ekezie, 19yrs, Favour Okorie, 18yrs, Mr.Waripamo Bestman Ejele, 25yrs and Richie Mike Prezi, 21yrs.
One Melvin, who claimed to be a friend to one of the deceased boys, Favour who hails from Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state declared that they’ve been trying to secure the release of his corpse.
“We believe that they were poisoned.”. But he could not explain who and how they were poisoned.
“We are here at Ekeki Police Station in company of Favour’s father to secure the release of the corpse for burial. But it is proving difficult after swearing to an Affidavit.
“We gathered that they eat a food they ordered which was delivered by a logistics motorbike and they died. One of them who was in the toilet however survived because he did not eat from the meal,” he said.
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Another friend of the deceased boys, who pleaded anonymity, claimed that “the deceased were much awake when we forced the security man to open the gate to their residence.
“Nelson (one of the deceased) was sitting on the chair but his head was on the ground with his vomit. Richie (another deceased) has his computer in his hand and showed he was struggling. It clearly showed that they were poisoned.”
They also dismissed claims that they died from inhaling generator fume.
Contacted on the development, the State Commissioner of Police, Benjamin Okolo, who confirmed the death of the four youths attributed it to drug overdose,
“They died of a drug overdose. It is quite unfortunate that they administered the drug themselves. They were five and the one that survived told us that they took two pills each and that he took one. This was why they died, ”Okolo revealed.
The Police boss, however, assured newsmen that if the friends and family of the deceased insisted that the four boys were poisoned,” the police will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death.”
Oil-producing states get N625bn in two years, says Garba Shehu
Abuja—The Presidency on Friday revealed that nine oil-producing states received N625.43bn 13 percent oil derivation, subsidy, and SURE-P refunds from the Federation Account in two years, Punch reports.
“The states that received the refunds dating from 1999 to 2021 are Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers,” a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, read on Friday.
The statement is titled ‘Oil derivation, subsidy and Sure-P refunds: Nine oil producing states receive N625.43 billion in two years; N1.1trn still outstanding.’
The Presidency also noted that the Buhari-led regime will continue to render equal service to all the states regardless of affiliation, and “an acknowledgment of this by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the others is not out of place.”
Citing data obtained from the Federation Account Department, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, it said a total of N477.2bn was released to the nine states as the refund of the 13 percent derivation fund on withdrawal from Excess Crude Account without deducting derivation from 2004 to 2019, leaving an outstanding balance of N287.04bn.
The States also got N64.8bn as a refund of the 13 per cent derivation fund on deductions made by NNPC without payment of derivation to Oil Producing States from 1999 to December.
According to Shehu, the benefitting States still have an outstanding balance of N860.59bn windfall from the refunds, which was approved by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
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From the figures, under the 13 per cent derivation fund on withdrawal from ECA without deducting derivation from 2004 to 2019, Abia State received N4.8bn with outstanding sum of N2.8bn, Akwa-Ibom received N128bn with outstanding sum of N77bn, Bayelsa with N92.2bn, leaving an outstanding of N55bn.
Cross River got a refund of N1.3bn with a balance N792m, Delta State received N110bn, leaving a balance of N66.2bn, Edo State received N11.3bn with a balance of N6.8bn, Imo State, N5.5bn, with an outstanding sum of N3.3bn, Ondo State, N19.4bn with an outstanding sum of N11.7bn while Rivers State was paid 103.6bn, with an outstanding balance of N62.3bn.
The states were paid eight installments between October 2, 2021, and January 11, 2022, while the ninth to 12th installments are still outstanding.
On the 13 per cent derivation fund on deductions made by NNPC without payment of derivation, the nine oil-producing states were paid in three instalments this year, with the remaining 17 instalments outstanding.
Under this category, Abia State received N1.1bn, Akwa-Ibom, N15bn, Bayelsa, N11.6bn, Cross River, N432m, Delta State, N14.8bn, Edo State, N2.2bn, Imo State, N2.9bn, Ondo State, N3.7bn, and Rivers State, N12.8bn.
Meanwhile, the benefitting States shared N9.2bn in three installments in April, August, and November 2022 as refunds on the 13 per cent derivation exchange rate differential on withdrawal from the ECA.
The three largest benefitting States were Akwa Ibom (N1.6bn), Delta State (N1.4bn), and Rivers State (N1.32bn).
Similarly, all nine states received N4.7bn each, totaling N42.34bn as refunds on withdrawals for subsidy and SURE-P from 2009 to 2015. The refund for all the states and local government councils was paid on November 10, 2022.
The Federation Account also paid N3.52bn each as a refund to local government councils on withdrawals for subsidy and SURE-P from 2009 to 2015 on the same date in November.
“President Buhari considers it a matter of honour and decency that debts owed to states or anyone for that matter be repaid, and in time without regard to their partisan political affiliations.
“The President will continue to render equal service to all the states of the federation and an acknowledgment of this by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the others is not out of place,” Shehu said.
Court sentences A’Ibom guber candidate, Bassey Albert to 42 years in prison
Uyo—The governorship candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Bassey Albert, has been sentenced to 42 years in prison for corruption.
Premium Times reports that Justice Agatha Anulika Okeke of the Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, on Thursday, convicted and sentenced Albert who was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
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He has been taken to Ikot Ekpene prison, Akwa Ibom State, to serve his prison term.
Albert, a serving senator representing Akwa Ibom North East District, was accused of receiving bribes for 12 cars worth N254 million from an oil marketer, Olajidee Omokore, during his (Albert’s) tenure (2010 – 2014) as commissioner for finance in Akwa Ibom State.
The convicted senator was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, the ruling party in the state before he defected months ago to the YPP, where he secured the party’s ticket for the 2023 governorship election.
He was a major challenger to the PDP candidate, Umo Eno, in next year’s governorship election in Akwa Ibom State.